there is a 2 hour version of the third episode

After the first three episodes, The Last of Us does not stop generating conversations. For one reason or another, after each chapter there are multiple reactions, interpretations and assessments of what happened in the HBO series. Long Long Time, the most recent, did not escape this logic and is curious: it could have been longer than what was shown.

This was recognized by the screenwriter Craig Mazin, who explained during an interview that there is a longer version of that episode. But it was scrapped for fear that it would appear too strong to the viewer. Long Long Time, in terms of emotion, looks unbeatable within The Last of Us. Although the story of Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett) was recreated in just this chapter, it is not ruled out that it will be remembered for years.

It is then that Craig Mazin’s words, in relation to duration, take on another meaning. Long Long Time lasted 1 hour and 16 minutes. It will be the second longest chapter of The Last of Us, after the first was 1 hour and 21 minutes. It seems long enough, within the television format. However, the other version of that episode, one that will likely never come to light, is 45 minutes longer.

The Last of Us is the premiere of the year and you can only see it on HBO Max

The Last of Uf, the duration of the third chapter and the Craig Mazin anecdote

“Long Long Time” was directed by Peter Hoar, who already has extensive behind-the-scenes experience in television projects. It was he, along with screenwriter Tim Good, who composed his own version of the episode. This lasts for two hours. When Craig Mazin heard this, he had second thoughts about it. However, he was encouraged to see it. In statements given to Deadlineexplained the result of that viewing:

“When they sent it to me, I think the duration was almost two hours or something. So I thought, ‘Oh, that’s probably not good. I sat down to watch it: ‘Okay, I’ll watch the two-hour version of this episode. While I was doing it, I cried so much that at one point I said out loud: ‘Ouch!’ It hurt what I was seeing. I cried so much, it hurt so much, I was like, ‘Well, if these guys can do this to me and I wrote this damn thing, then it might work pretty well on other people.’”

Craig Mazin.

Bill in The Last of Us, in the chapter "Long Long Time".

It worked. The evaluation of the third episode of The Last of Us on Rotten Tomatoes it exceeds 90%. After knowing Craig Mazin’s reaction and seeing the final result, the question is valid: why didn’t that two-hour version reach the HBO Max platform? Mazin explained it in the aforementioned medium:

“We worked very hard to do it (expose the longer version). But we knew that this two-hour cut could not be published. HBO was kind enough to let us expand a bit. I always want to leave people wanting more. However, I recognize that this is a longer episode. What’s really interesting is that even though I think it’s like 73 minutes long, a lot of the people who have seen it say that the hour flew by. So, I think it wasn’t just an hour. Promoting that experience is the true achievement. When I saw the footage of Peter and Tim, I thought, ‘Wow, this really touched my heart.’

Craig Mazin.

The meaning of Long Long Time

The third episode of The Last of Us bore that title due to the eponymous song written by Gary White, performed by Linda Ronstadt and released in 1970. Ronstadt, a year after the premiere of the musical piece, was nominated for a Grammy for “Best Contemporary Female Vocal Performance”.

Within the narrative, it works as a before and after for Bill and Frank. Those who are unknown at first, from that topic end up building a love relationship in the midst of the apocalypse. A link that crosses time and, symbolically, influences the aforementioned characters and also Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie Williams (played by Bella Ramsey).

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Joel understands, from Bill and Frank’s example, that Ellie is not only his responsibility, but also represents, through their bond, one of the few remaining traits of humanity within The Last of Us universe. Just as Bill and Frank took care of themselves, now Joel and Bella must take care of each other.

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